The Mathematics and Science Partnership (MSP) program is a formula-grant program to states that supports improved student achievement in mathematics and science through enhanced training for mathematics and science teachers. The states are responsible for conducting a competitive grant program that makes awards to partnerships of high-need school districts and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) departments within universities, giving districts and arts and sciences faculty joint responsibility for improving mathematics and science instruction.
MSP seeks ways to sustain intensive, high-quality professional development activities that focus on deepening teachers’ content knowledge and on providing opportunities for establishing coherence in teachers’ professional development experiences. MSP projects are to be designed to contribute to the knowledge base of how students learn mathematics and science and how teacher preparation and professional development can be improved.
MSP projects must be designed and implemented by partnerships that include K-12 administrators and teachers from high-need Local Education Agencies (LEAs) and STEM faculty, particularly those in mathematics and science. Teacher participants and/or other personnel and administrators from partner LEAs must be involved in the assessment of needs, project planning and proposal preparation. These partners must share goals, responsibilities and accountability for the project.
Additional high-need LEAs, college/university Departments of Education, Educational Service Centers, community colleges, career technical centers, nonprofit organizations, businesses with mathematics and/or science expertise or interests, or other localized entities also may serve as partners on a project with clearly defined roles and responsibilities.
Content-Based Professional Development
An eligible partnership shall use funds provided under this grant for one or more of the following authorized activities related to teacher professional development:
- Creating opportunities for enhanced and ongoing professional development of mathematics and science teachers that improves the subject matter knowledge of such teachers.
- Promoting strong teaching skills for mathematics and science teachers and teacher educators, including integrating reliable scientifically based research and teaching methods and technology-based teaching methods into the curriculum.
- Establishing and operating mathematics and science summer workshops or institutes, including follow-up training, for elementary school and secondary school mathematics and science teachers that:
- directly relate to the curriculum and academic areas in which the teacher provides instruction and focus only secondarily on pedagogy;
- enhance the ability of the teacher to understand and use the challenging State academic content standards for mathematics and science and to select appropriate curricula;
- train teachers to use curricula that are based on scientific research, are aligned with challenging State academic content standards and are object-centered, experiment-oriented and concept- and content-based;
- may include programs that provide teachers with opportunities to work under the guidance of experienced teachers and college faculty;
- may include instruction in the use of data and assessments to inform and instruct classroom practice; and
- may include professional development activities, including supplemental and follow-up activities, such as curriculum alignment, distance learning and activities that train teachers to utilize technology in the classroom.
- Developing or redesigning more rigorous mathematics and science curricula that are aligned with challenging State and local academic content standards and with the standards expected for postsecondary study in mathematics and science.
- Establishing distance learning programs for mathematics and science teachers using curricula that are innovative, content-based and based on scientifically based research that is current as of the date of the program involved.
- Designing programs to prepare a mathematics or science teacher at a school to provide professional development to other mathematics or science teachers at the school and to assist beginning and other teachers at the school, including (if applicable) a mechanism to integrate the teacher's experiences from a summer workshop or institute into the provision of professional development and assistance.
- Establishing and operating programs to bring mathematics and science teachers into contact with working scientists, mathematicians and engineers to expand the teachers' subject-matter knowledge of and research in science and mathematics.
- Designing programs to identify and develop exemplary mathematics and science teachers in kindergarten through grade eight classrooms.
- Training mathematics and science teachers and developing programs to encourage young women and other underrepresented individuals in mathematics and science careers (including engineering and technology) to pursue postsecondary degrees in majors leading to such careers.
- Recruiting mathematics, engineering and science majors to teaching through the use of:
- signing and performance incentives that are linked to activities proven effective in retaining teachers for individuals with demonstrated professional experience in mathematics, engineering or science;
- stipends provided to mathematics and science teachers for certification through alternative routes;
- scholarships for teachers to pursue advanced coursework in mathematics, engineering or science; and
- other programs that the State educational agency determines to be effective in recruiting and retaining individuals with strong mathematics, engineering or science backgrounds.
For more information on the federal Title IIB, Mathematics and Science Partnership Program, please visit the U.S. Department of Education´s MSP program.